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Falling Down

Ah, autumn, such a glorious season! The aspens have turned, pine needles blanket the ground, the hummingbird feeders have been stored for the season and your intrepid screen crew is having trouble coming up with a topic for this week’s Extra Butter. Wait a minute… that’s it! Favorite films with “Fall” in their titles!

Falling Down (1993) In Joel Schumacher’s prescient psychological thriller, Michael Douglas stars as William Foster, a laid-off defense industry career man who now lives alone. Despite a restraining order prohibiting him from seeing her, Foster is on his way to see his young daughter on her birthday when a series of encounters pushes him over the edge. As Foster gets increasingly more violent and unpredictable, a policeman (Robert Duvall) -- on his last day on the force before retirement -- is determined to track him down. It’s a very interesting re-watch during this current climate of rage and high-caliber weapons, as Foster yearns for days gone by and wishes America were great again.

Fallen (1998) Philadelphia detective John Hobbes (Denzel Washington) is pitted against a body-hopping demon who previously inhabited the body of a serial killer that Hobbes sent to death row. OK, maybe this supernatural crime thriller isn’t the best movie, but it does star Washington, as well as John Goodman and Donald Sutherland, so it can’t be that bad. And the title is, like, 66.6 percent “Fall,” so it clearly qualifies for this list.

The Fall (2006) Alexandria (Catinca Untaru) is a little girl with a broken arm in 1920s Los Angeles. Bored by her confinement to her hospital bed, Alexandria begins to perk up when injured Hollywood stuntman Roy Walker (Lee Pace) begins to tell her a mesmerizing story about five heroes who are each out for revenge against the awful Governor Odious (Daniel Caltagirone). As Walker (who has an ulterior motive) weaves his story, we see how Alexandria pictures the tale in her mind. The spectacular visuals stand out not because of computer graphics, but because they were filmed largely without, using practical effects and locations in more than 20 different countries.

Skyfall (2012) Daniel Craig debuted as James Bond in Casino Royale (2006); the actor brought a darker, more dangerous, less quip-prone Bond to audiences hungry for a change. Though 2008’s Quantum of Solace was significantly less entertaining, Craig’s third Bond film turned out to be not only his best yet, but one of the very best of the entire series of 23 installments (at the time). Skyfall combines a look into the spy’s family history, a fun villain in Javier Bardem’s Silva, a longtime character in jeopardy (I won’t say who, but her name starts with “M”) and an Oscar-winning title song by Adele.

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